So, I remember first eating these in Hugo’s restaurant in Houston. Take the flowers of a courgette stuff with cream and herbs then deep fry in batter – who thought that one up? I’m glad that they did, and it really is an easy dish to make.
Better still, they are only around in the early part of the year and look as spectacular as they taste.
- 8 courgette flowers
- 300g (10½oz) ricotta, preferably fresh
- 4 tbsp grated parmesan
- about 10g (¼oz) chives, chopped
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- generous grating of nutmeg
- 100g (3½oz) plain flour
- 50g (1¾oz) cornflour
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 250ml (9fl oz) lager [I use Meantime]
- 25ml (1fl oz) olive oil
- sunflower oil, for deep-frying
- wedges of lemon, to serve
- Leave the stem on the flowers (but trim the base where it was attached to the plant); then carefully open the flower trumpet by simply untwisting then. Take out the stamen.
- Mix the ricotta with the parmesan, chives, egg, nutmeg and plenty of salt and pepper
- Make the batter: mix the flour, cornflour and baking powder and gradually add the beer, whisking and then the olive oil. Season with salt.
- To stuff the flowers: gently place two or more teaspoons of the ricotta mixture down into the trumpet of each flower [you can also use a piping bag with is much easier]. Close the flower and give it a little twist at the top.
- Heat about 8cm (3in) oil in a saucepan to 190°C/375°F. Keep the heat at a steady temperature.
- Quickly dip the first flower in the batter, letting any excess drip off. Carefully lay it in the oil, flower tip first. Repeat. Cook on one side, then turn over and cook on the other. They should be golden brown – it takes two and a half to three minutes in all.Immediately put the flowers on the kitchen paper and sprinkle with sea salt.
Cook all the courgettes and serve straight away with wedges of lemon.